Her star shone bright in the pre-Code 1930s.
She was known for her elegant bearing, but as you’ll soon see, she could bare it (herself) with the best.
Let’s first clear up that name. She was born Anna McKim in 1911 in New York City, the offspring of silent film actress Anna Lehr and actor/director Edwin McKim. Three husbands and nearly 100 film and tv credits later, she retired and moved to Hawaii with her third spouse. She died of cancer in 1979 at the age of 68.
How she wound up being billed as Ann Dvorak remains murky, but she always explained that my fake name is properly pronounced ‘vor-shack.’ The D remains silent. She first appeared onscreen during the silent era. She was either four or five years old, and billed as “Baby Anna Lehr.”
Ann later became a dance instructor for MGM musicals. Her pal, Joan Crawford, introduced her to a young man by the name of Howard Hughes (Lawdie, how that man got around) who cast Dvorak in her breakthrough outing, 1932’s Scarface as Paul Muni’s sister.
Among her greatest Thirties hits were 1932’s Three On A Match with Bette Davis (lower left) and Joan Blondell (middle)….
And comforting James Cagney The Crowd Roars…
And squaring off with Donald Woods in 1937’s The Case of the Stuttering Bishop. His character was Perry Mason. Hers was Della Street. This was some two decades before the Fifties tv hit series costarring Raymond Burr and Della Street.
Finally, Ann Dvorak was, as mentioned, known for her elegant bearing. But below is proof that she had her fun in that wonderful period in Hollywood history before the Motion Picture Code clicked in.